Fried Wontons

I had some leftover wonton wrappers from making VYY’s Wonton Soup, and some Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese that needed using. I decided to make up some fried wontons.

vegan Fried Wontons

These guys are sort of like crab rangoon, sans crab. Note that none of these dishes is really authentic—Chinese cuisine doesn’t have any indigenous cheese, so anything with cheese in it can’t really be East Asian cuisine.

It can be Chinese-American, though! And what’s more fun than veganised Chinese-American dishes?

For the filling, you can pretty much throw in anything that you like. I had some leftover greens—I think collard greens, but it’s been a while since I made these—that I sliced and threw in, and I like a smoky, peppery filling.

Seriously, mix whatever you like in with the cream cheese. I even sliced up some pickled watermelon radishes for some of them. Spread any cream cheese leftovers on bagels!

The most difficult part here is the folding. You can fold your wontons pretty much any way that you want—there’s a handy guide here that shows different folding styles.

I chose one that could be flattened easily for pan-frying, because even though we randomly own a deep fryer, I don’t really much like deep-frying because of the whole ‘gallon of oil’ storage mess. You could deep fry these in a few inches of oil in a pot, too, I guess—whatever suits you.

I made a nice sweet-and-sour dipping sauce with more ‘authentic’ ingredients than some of the quick Americanised versions. It’s still not authentic sweet-and-sour sauce by any means, but it has a much more complex flavour over which you have more control, and it’s a bit healthier.

Ingredients:

For the wontons:

12 wonton wrappers (you’ll use ~1 t in each, so 1 8-oz. tub of Tofutti BTCC can fill ~48 wrappers; amounts given below are for 1/4 tub)

2 oz (1/4 tub) Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

bunch greens (kale, collard greens, swiss chard, etc.) tough ribs removed, thinly sliced, and briefly steamed in a covered pan with a few T water

1 T smoked paprika

1 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t dried red pepper flakes

pinch salt and a generous amount freshly cracked black pepper

dash soy sauce

oil for frying (use whatever kind you like best, and amount depends on whether you’re shallow-frying in a pan or deep frying in a pot or deep-fryer)

For the sweet-and-sour dipping sauce:

1/4 c seasoned rice vinegar

1/4 c water

2 T mirin

2 T soy sauce

1 T sugar

1 t molasses

1/2 t ginger powder

Method:

Most importantly, keep the wonton wrappers covered while working with them so that they don’t dry out—you can do this with a damp (not wet) towel. Start filling only one wonton at a time and then move up to three or four.

To prep your work space:

  • Clear off a bit of counter, cutting board, silpat, whatever
  • Have your covered wonton wrappers on one side
  • Place your filling and a small spoon somewhere close
  • Fill a small dish with water for wetting the wrappers
  • And have somewhere to line up your finished wontons on the other side

Briefly memorise the method that you’re using to wrap your wontons. I did mine perfectly the first time, and then couldn’t for the life of me recreate that fold again. C’est la vie.

Spoon about 1 t of filling into the centre (or side, or corner, depending on your fold) of a wonton wrapper. Wet the sides of your wrapper with a finger just dipped in water.

some filling for a wonton

To make flatted roses/hobo bags/whatever I made, I took opposite corners of the wrapper and pinched them together.

pinching opposite corners together

Then I took the remaining opposite corners and did the same thing, just over the top of the other set—I think that I  must have given this second set a 180º twist at the end.

pinching the second set of opposite corners together

I then pushed each corner fold into itself, taking opposite ends together, and pinched it shut.

tucking the folded corners of a wonton into themselves

As long as you push out as much air as possible; keep all the filling inside (not breaking the seal); and pinch a nice, tight seal; then you should be good to go with these wontons. You could even try a couple different styles for fun!

perfect rosebud of a wonton

You could freeze these wontons for a few days—they keep well.

To cook, heat oil (canola, vegetable, toasted sesame, mix, whatever) to 350ºF. I shallow-fried mine in a pan with about 1/4″ oil in it, flipping them once to fry on both sides.

Place wontons in oil and fry until golden brown.

mm…greens and creamy cheesy filling…

While those are frying or cooling, to make the sweet-and-sour sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved! Easy.

Garnishes: dried red pepper flakes or sliced green onions
Goes well with: sweet-and-sour tofu, a nice Thai curry, or potlucks and good friends

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